About the book

Book - Milliken's Bend: A Civil War Battle in History and MemoryMilliken’s Bend:
A Civil War Battle in History and Memory
by Linda Barnickel

“Stellar” – Civil War Times

Winner of the 2013 Jules and Frances Landry Award, for the “most outstanding achievement in the field of southern studies” for a book published by LSU Press during the year.

Winner of the 2013 A.M. Pate Jr. Award for “outstanding research and writing” on the Trans-Mississippi theater of the war.

The story of Milliken’s Bend is the story of the Civil War in microcosm. Using numerous personal accounts, deep research in the National Archives and elsewhere, Milliken’s Bend: A Civil War Battle in History and Memory provides extraordinary detail and broad context for this important but long-neglected battle of the Civil War.

In addition to describing the battle and the situations leading up to it, the work also provides a much broader examination of the Southern fears over slave insurrection; the violent culture of Texas; what Emancipation meant to white Southerners, white Northerners and black slaves;┬áprejudice against African Americans in the Union army; the violence of Reconstruction in northern Louisiana; and an examination of the ways Milliken’s Bend has been forgotten – and remembered, over the past 150 years. At the same time, the book turns what we think we know about the war on its head:

  • one slaveholder realizes she must pay her slaves if she wishes them to stay
  • Union authorities place former slaves on abandoned plantations to labor for the Union army
  • abolitionists declare that the slaves might be better off with their old masters
  • female slaves are brutalized at the hands of their Northern “liberators”
  • black Union soldiers whip a white Union soldier – at their commander’s order
  • a Rebel general expresses admiration for the tenacity of black Union soldiers in the Milliken’s Bend fight

and much more.

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Thank you for your interest in this important story!